Saturday, 23 November 2013

A clash of champions - by Junior Tay

The recently concluded World Championships won by GM Magnus Carlsen had English GM Nigel Short tweeting about the 'end of an era', signifying that the new generation has finally taken out the old guard.

Unfortunately, chess strength deteriorates as one ages, some exponentially, some in lesser degree. At the highest level, the slightest inaccuracy, as demonstrated by Carlsen, is ruthlessly pounced on, just like Vishy waning in the 5th hour of the games and Magnus forcefully exploiting this in the endgame.

In the local context, it is intriguing to see IM Leslie Leow making a comeback by representing Singapore in the Malaysia-Singapore match held today at KL.  Leslie, the 1979 and 1984 National Champion,  last represented Singapore in the 1992 Manila Olympiad and has not competed for more than 20 years! It would be interesting to see if he can cope with Malaysia's best. Whatever the case, it is great that a former local chess giant is coming back to chess, and hopefully, Leslie can dish out lessons to our young punks on the local circuit.

In 1993, IM Lim Seng Hoo, who had gone into retirement after more than a decade, had a conversation with Dr Nithiananthan and he queried who the strongest local player then was. Nithia replied that IM Hsu Li Yang, who was the defending National Champion (he won it in 1992 and 1993), is the best bet. A friendly match was promptly arranged at Cairnhill  CC.

This is the first game of the match, which showed that Seng Hoo is still a force to be reckoned with. We would like to thank the good doctor for the game-score, meticulously preserved to mark this previously unknown match.

For the record, Li Yang won 2.5-0.5 but I think spotting 15 years of play, Seng Hoo had demonstrated that he is still not easy to beat!

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